Cebu City hopes to remain under ECQ
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government is hoping that the city will remain under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) despite the recommendation of the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) that the city should be placed under Modified ECQ (MECQ).
City Legal Officer Rey Gealon, the spokesperson of Mayor Edgardo Labella, said that the city is still waiting for the response of the IATF-EID regarding the request of the city to remain under the ECQ.
In the IATF recommendation, Cebu City joins Laguna and Metro Manila as the local government units (LGUs) that are identified as high-risk areas that still need to stay under some sort of ECQ.
Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City are also asking to remain under ECQ until the Project Balik Buhay of the tri-cities, which involves gathering scientific data on the extent of the COVID-19 infection, is completed.
Gealon said there has been no response yet if the city should remain in ECQ. However, if the city will be placed under MECQ, there will be slight changes to the strict measures already set in place these days.
For one, buses will be deployed around the city to carry passengers. No jeepneys will be allowed to ply the streets yet.
Gealon said buses have the bigger capacity even when implementing strict social distancing. They can bring more people from one point to another without risking breaking the physical distance.
“Public transport dili gihapon na mahimo. (Public transport cannot resume). Buses will be deployed,” he said.
Some business establishments that are part of the list of the IATF-EID can also open, but only 50 percent of the workforce can man the offices or workplaces.
Work from home will remain to be the standard for most industries.
Government offices will also maintain a skeletal force, while physical classes in schools are still suspended. Teachers may be assigned administrative jobs and 50 percent may go to the schools to work.
Gealon said the city is preparing for these adjustments and transition to MECQ even though they still wish to remain in ECQ.
He maintains that Cebu City should still remain under the ECQ until the Project Balik Buhay is completed. /bmjo
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